Anyone who knows me or has seen my work knows I have a thing for cocktail stirrers, as seen below in my TV drawer. I have made and sold many earrings and other accessories made from these molded plastic sticks of wonder. The whole idea of them overwhelms me, don’t know why.
One of best selling earring sets is made from a long key, so when I found this little bag of awesome, I pounced.
More earrings!!! A very good friend told me I had to do a better job of bullet pointing my process so here goes.
1. Measure and mark the center of the stirrer.
2. Using a sharp wire cutter gently snip it in two. Any shape wire cutters will do this is just what mine look like.
3. Using a thin drill bit, drill a hole in the top of each piece. I used my monster drill press, but you could a cordless drill (just make sure you brace it down somehow so it doesn’t slip)
4. There are talented people out there that make the own earring wires for earrings, this is how I avoid learning this skill. I buy commercial ear wires from my local craft store and make them look nicer by snipping off the loop on the bottom that holds the spring and the cheesy bead.
5. Once I have snipped off the loop without taking out an eye (those suckers take flight) I use round nose pliers or looping pliers to make a new loop. It turns out looking like it wasn’t bought at my local craft store.
no that is not my hand.
6. Cut a small length of heart chain and attach a Lucite heart to one end using a jump ring. I just happened to have this adorable heart chain but any would do.
7. Attach the other end of the chain to the ear wire and key using another jump ring. Walla!
Life is pretty busy. I am working on a huge project called ARTFUL and my days quickly get filled up with meetings and such. In an effort to stay creative without the benefit of time I am continuing this series. These are meant to inspire you to fix something instead of throw it away and to develop your eye for finding the parts, among the trash.
So first we add some items to our arsenal. I love this glue, it works on most surfaces and is durable and flexible. It is expensive so make sure you close it up tight and you use a coupon. The second item, ring blanks can be found at many craft stores and come in several finishes. The last item (not pictured) is a soft toothbrush, which comes in handy when gentle cleaning of caked on ick is necessary.
#7 I have been looking for a good case for my round business cards forever, and I finally found it. It was right under my nose in a box in my studio, but timing is everything. All this project needed was a good cleaning with that toothbrush and some dish soap, and we were all good.
#8 This next project I have been meaning to do for a while. The original concept is so great that all I needed to do was clean it out (toothbrush again), refill with shea butter and add a chain. It still smells like the original lipstick, but oh well.
I am waiting to see if the shea butter melts in the heat before I fill it all the way up.
#9 This pretty pin was in a bag of stuff a friend gave me to play with. it was broken, so I decided to turn it into a ring. Using my pliers I carefully removed the other half of the broken latch and simply glued it on the ring blank.
I found these delightfully colored petals in a basement at an estate sale. The original purpose of these beauties was samples for wrought iron lawn furniture. I like to think that they were sitting in the same place for forty years just waiting for me to find them. These are exactly the kind of items The Associate would pilfer from my studio, and I have a fondness for large statement necklaces, so I got to work.
I first cleaned them up a bit because they each had a sticker with the code numbers and color. Using a large link vintage chain I made jump rings for each petal.
Using malleable aluminum 16 gauge wire, I made a crude framework to hang the petals on, and layered them in a pyramid fashion.
Using the remainder of the chain I completed the necklace.
I love a good puzzle. jigsaw puzzles mostly. Unfortunately nobody else in my family does, so it is usually me sitting at the table with The Associate underneath and around concocting an elaborate game. As instructed by The Associate I only speak when asked a question by her about her make believe universe. These questions could be about anything and I must answer correctly or she becomes exasperated, and recedes back underfoot. Hey, at least I get to do my puzzle, and she is only being partially ignored.
One year while hunting for treasure in a giant red barn in upstate NY, I found an old wooden puzzle. The box was a mess and there was no sign of a picture, so of course i bought it. It sat on my table for awhile. I pushed the pieces around a bit, but I couldn’t tease out the image. So what do I do you ask?
I drill holes in them, obviously, and make earrings!
When a friend asks me to solve their jewelry problems I get right on it, especially if that friend is as awesome as Brady. There is nothing worse than tangled necklaces. Well actually there are a lot of worse things, but I would never do anything if I kept up with that negativity. So at the risk of repeating myself, I never throw anything away (just my husband and kids crap that is not as useful as my crap 😉 I dug deep to find supplies. The requirements were simple, and the space was small. I headed down to the dungeon and stared into the abyss with hopeful x-ray vision. It worked and I only had to unearth a few containers to gather my ingredients.
1. one oblong ugly painting that has stretchers in good order.
9. drill and drill bit that is slightly smaller than the hooks
After removing the offending painting from the stretchers I stretched the mesh over the frame, using the staple gun, working from the center of each side out to get a nice taut surface. It is best if you alternate sides to ensure your fabric doesn’t get over stretched in any one direction. After this was done to my satisfaction I turned it over and attached the eye hooks and wire because if I did this later I would have to contend with pokey things and an uneven surface.
Then I flipped it back over and drilled pilot holes along the bottom stretcher and the middle support for the hooks. Working from a random collection I attempted to make some sort pattern that would be pleasing to the eye. Once you have made a pilot hole you can screw them in by hand.
I attached Velcro to bottom of the containers with glue to reinforce that sticky stuff on the Velcro. I stapled the Velcro to frame in equal intervals. I didn’t use glue just in case Brady didn’t like this feature she could just pull out a staple and be done with it.
I had a request for a pair of these earrings from a friend who LOST HERS!!! I won’t name names. Hopefully she was acting now and preventing something when they disappeared. Lucky for HER I never throw anything away, and I have millions of wishbone cocktail thingys. When I made these I was obsessed with fonts and type from vintage magazines, still am probably if I am honest with myself. So I scanned them in to my trusty MAC and photoshoped them to fit on petal shaped brass stampings. I drilled holes in the petals first and then glued my words on them with some Elmers. After several attempts at this I figured out that I should coat the words to protect them from smudging during the gluing process so I sprayed them with clear acrylic gloss. This act prevented two things, smudging and less ripping during cutting because my lazy self didn’t want to get up and walk the 5 feet to get a fresh x-acto blade. I drilled two holes in the wishbone. One to hold a jump ring and ear wire and one to hold a jump ring and my petal. I then put them altogether with pliers. Below are some other examples from this series, I apologize for picture quality something obviously prevented good lighting that day.
At this point I would like to introduce you to my other associate. He isn’t a terrific shop dog considering every time I use any tool he bolts. Despite this unfortunate characteristic we are together a lot when I am working because I am usually outside and he doesn’t often pass up an opportunity to chase around the extremely well fed squirrels that are native to Cleveland Heights. His name is Loki, Longkey, The lok ness monster, and my personal favorite Tone-lok.
Thankfully he does not partake in shoes, probably because of the intricate network of baby gates that irritate me to no end. He does however munch on somethings that are not his.
Me being me saved them so I could use parts of them later. I then pulled out my stash of plastic robot parts.
found a suitable bead, and glued those two gray pieces together around the bead. I then striped the yellow cord from the headphones to expose the wires and used it to make a chain. so sci-fi.
I wore my favorite necklace last night, and as usual it got a lot of attention, so i decided to dig up the photos that explain how I made it. The story goes like this. I know I have mentioned Zero Landfill before. It is an amazing organization that collects discontinued samples of carpet, tile and all kinds of good stuff from designers and manufacturers, and then invites artists and teachers to harvest it. When the date is announced I begin to get anxious I’ve got my reusable bags, sometimes my wagon if I am thinking clearly, and I wait. Inevitably there are some not so nice people there, who suck the spirit of the occasion right to the landfill. I ignore them and press on. I have to admit when I saw this little bundle of powder coated awesomeness it was love at first sight. Imagine me in slow motion with a flurry of scavengers around me moving really fast. That is kind of how it felt. My little prize dangled by my computer for a long time until it hit me.
They might not look like much to you, but I considered diamonds in the rough. Sometimes it all falls into place easily and this day was no exception. I scrounged up these items.
it is so simple, I LOVE IT.
I took some jump rings off of the chain, poked the button through the existing hole and threaded the ring through. Then I reconnected the chain, added a toggle as a connector and done.I left the stickers on so when people ask I can assure them of my genius, really, wow, very interesting.
I always love helping my fellow neighbors get rid of their “junk.” This find is bittersweet however because these much-loved neighbors are moving. sad face. There is another medium I am likely to work in at any moment, jewelry. I especially like to make to big statement pieces so you can only imagine the ideas that came clamouring through my little head when I opened this box. There was a miniature millennium falcon on top which I gave to my husband (he better like it).
I started out simple and made earrings with these glacier like feet. Here they are modeled by my dark-haired superhero friend Sarah who tried to steal them twice.
and here is me, looking slightly beat up after my dance with a sander.
next up are these odds and ends.
If anybody recognizes these particular figures let me know so I can find more because